With Tiger Woods, Bubba Watson and Phil Mickelson potentially grabbing center stage in the first two days of the 2012 British Open, young star Rory McIlroy can fly under the rader at this year's tournament.
In addition, local boys Lee Westwood and Luke Donald will undoubtedly be commanding the attention of the local media, which will leave the 23-year old without much pressure and he wouldn't want it any other way.
Coming into last year's tournament fresh off a dominating performance at the U.S. Open (which saw him not only win his first major championship but also be heralded as the new face of professional golf), McIlroy faced a wealth of scrutiny and hype at the British Open which he handled poorly, notably citing poor weather conditions for his disappointing play.
With the hype largely subsided, McIlroy can now enter this year's championship focused on playing rather than living up to expectation.
Via USA Today:
"It's been lovely just going about my business," McIlroy said. "It's been nice to sort of prepare and there's definitely not the madness that was going on last year."